How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step in the pest control process is hiring the right company for you. Along with a company's qualifications and treatment methods, you might also consider how long it has been in business and what the reviews are like. Last but not least, you'll likely want to consider the cost of services.
Below, we dive into detail on each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
All pesticide applicators, as well as those that supervise them, should be licensed via the appropriate California regulatory agencies. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets minimum standards of competency, while issuing, maintaining, and revoking licensure is handled at the state level.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can obtain optional certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro. These are not required, but can help you evaluate the quality of a company's products. For example, the GreenPro Service Certification is given to companies that use comprehensive and effective pest control methods that are safer for humans and the environment.
A pest control company can also hold membership in professional organizations. Holding membership in organizations like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations is not required, but helps confirm that a company follows industry best practices. When a pest control company joins the NPMA, it gains access to resources, education, and a network of professionals with whom to discuss methods and practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can gain some insight into a company's level of experience by seeing how long it has been in business. The company's website and local reviews can also inform you whether a certain company has experience dealing with the specific species of pests invading your home. You can reach out to a representative directly to learn this information if it is not available online.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look for reviews and recommendations on social media or local review sites, look up a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), or check the status of its license through the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Things like the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, your location, and other factors can all affect the price of pest control.
You can find out whether a company provides free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget) and what type of guarantees it has. Often, a company will provide a guarantee that if it does not solve your pest problem, it will keep coming back until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Keeping yourself, your family and your pets safe is an important consideration when picking a pest control provider. You might also prefer a provider that employs environmentally-friendly practices.
Your pest control provider should be able to discuss the safety of any and all pesticides that they're going to use. They should be able to explain whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic; if they are not, they should explain what safety precautions they plan to use to protect you, your family, and your pets. All pesticides that pose more than a minimum risk must be registered with the EPA.
You can ask if your technician will start with lower-toxicity, more natural options before trying harsher chemicals.
Many companies are now using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to treat pest infestations with minimal personal or environmental risk. The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify problem pests and determine whether immediate action is required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of biological, cultural, physical, and mechanical controls.
- Employ chemical controls only if needed, and always with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and implement additional pest control as needed.
Common Household Pests in San Diego
In San Diego, certain pests are more common than others. This list of pests includes the following:
- Wasps: Wasps can be very hard to get rid of, especially when you're trying to avoid being stung. They can often be found in spots like roof overhangs, attics, sheds, and garages.
- Snakes: Snakes often enter homes in search of food, and once inside they tend to prefer cool, dark, and damp spots. While most species of snakes are harmless, you and your family should not take that risk.
- Mice: Telltale signs of mouse activity include chewed wires and droppings around your home. Mice tend to frequent attics or areas where food is stored.
- Bed bugs: Bed bugs can be found throughout California, and they can lead to big problems if left untreated. Because infestations of bed bugs are tricky to get rid of, we recommend having professional extermination as soon as you discover the problem. These pests can infest bedsheets, furniture, wallpaper, and more.
- Spiders: You may encounter spiders in your attic or other moist, dark places. Even though most species of spider are harmless to humans, you don't want a spider infestation in your house.
San Diego Pest Control FAQ
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Pests come into your home looking for one of three things: food, water, or shelter. Some pests will opportunistically enter your home through a broken screen or foundation crack. Some are attracted to food, either actual food left out or trash sitting out in the open. Others look for water, either standing water on your property or puddles inside from leaky pipes.
There are certain steps you can take to help prevent pest infestations. First, don't leave food out. Make sure food is stored in sealed containers, and don't leave trash sitting around.
Second, avoid having standing water in or around your house. Fix leaks inside and eliminate places where standing water collects outside. Lastly, seal off any possible pest entrances into your house, including siding or foundation cracks.
In general, it's recommended that you get your home treated for pests about once annually, more often if there is an active infestation. Your pest control professional will ultimately be the best person to recommend a treatment schedule for you.
The majority of pesticides last about 30 to 90 days after application. If there is rain, chemicals applied outside may wash away sooner than those applied inside. Other factors that affect how long pesticide application lasts include what chemicals are used, the application method, what pests are being targeted, and the extent of your pest problem.